Metro-North commuters face cutbacks to trains due to state budget

Commuters who rely on Metro-North may soon see less trains running due to state budget funding cuts.
Connecticut Department of Transportation officials say the possible budget cuts for Metro-North are in part due to ridership numbers and travel patterns that have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement from the DOT, it says they are working with the MTA to analyze those ridership patterns and schedule adjustments.
Cathy Rinaldi, president of Metro-North, says the New Haven line is by far the busiest of the three Metro-North lines.
"And the concern that we have expressed is that to get to that level of pre-COVID service, we're developing a tailored schedule for Connecticut at their request but that it would be very difficult if not impossible to hold peak hour trains harmless. So, there would potentially be cuts in the peak, which is obviously extremely concerning given the ridership that we're seeing in the peak.
A spokesperson for the Connecticut DOT issued a statement saying, "The governor's FY24-FY25 budget proposal is based on the understanding that ridership numbers and travel patterns have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic, and those changes should be reflected in the services provided. The legislature's budget contains similar funding levels in FY24. CTDOT is working in consultation with MTA Metro-North to analyze current ridership patterns and possible schedule adjustments to reflect available funding. Following final budget negotiations and passage of the FY24-FY25 budget, CTDOT will conduct a Service and Fare Equity (SAFE) Analysis, which includes public hearings. Those would be conducted over the summer, with any changes going into effect in the fall."